“I knew you'd understand what looks good with a black armband”
First post of 2016.... it being three months into the new year and all. I plead guilty with an explanation. Dirt City Chronicles, after 16 years exiled to the bootheel country of SW New Mexico is now back in Albuquerque. With turnarounds to Amarillo and Deming and a 24 hour motor trek from the Duke City to Appleton, Wisconsin out of the way, I can finally settle back into my regular routine of gutter sniping. From the desolate outbacks of New Mexico to the outskirts of Albuquerque's westside, Dirt City Chronicles is back up and streaming in glorious, compressed stereo. Boy Howdy!
As a rule of thumb, post rock i.e. emo/screamo/math rock bands drew the ire of local music aficionados. Looked upon as a blight, the boys of angst never received their due nor garnered praises worthy of their respective musical talents and recording output. The locals didn't warm up to them, maybe it was the indecipherable lyrics or the swirling racket over which they screamed. Whatever it was, you can't unring that bell. Oh! Ranger, Kid Crash, Your Name in Lights, Pilot to Bombardier, Dear Oceana, The City is the Tower..... we can sing their praises now, it's ok. As a whole, they combined to create a definitive Albuquerque sound that went shamefully unnoticed. Archabald belatedly carries on that tradition.
Revolving around the talents of vocalist Randy Bowen and guitarist Andy Othing (who moonlights as Lowercase Noises, an ambient music project that he's fronted since 2010) Archabald brings to mind Soular, one of the Duke City's many under the radar bands. Bowen and Othing break much of the same ground. Randy Bowen sounds enough like Marsh Shamburger to cause a trained listener to wonder where they've heard that voice before. If you're not familiar with Soular, search for 'em on YouTube. “Relativity” and “Cannibal Heart” were first released as teaser tracks for Archabald's latest long player, “Relativity” released in Feb. of this year. It's Archabald's third album and their most fully realized to date. Don't just take my word, stream it at Bandcamp and perhaps purchase a copy.
I've also slotted in two tracks from The City is the Tower.... described on last.fm as “4 drunk dudes from Albuquerque, New Orleans, Boston and Denver” Humor is in short supply in this genre, The City is the Tower understood this and worked it, tongue firmly planted in cheek. Some members of The City is the Tower went on to form Dead Cousins, a loud band, lacking most of the subtle nuances of its predecessor. “Party Ideas” The City's “chart bending debut” is still available for download at Media Fire as a zip file. The link can be found on the band's Facebook page. By the way, James Whitten, mixed and mastered The City's 2010 split 12” release (w/ Thou) “Dwell in The Darkness of Thought and Drink the Poison of Life”
“All this weirdness goes by just like a parade”
“A Not Quite Perfect Film” and “Fragile” presented here in modified form, were culled from the “last postcard from Chateau Marmont” aka “Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities” a well timed retrospective collection from Lousy Robot, partially compiled by Jim Phillips, completed by Dandee Fleming and John Dufilho. Spill no tears, though meant as a tribute to Jim Phillips, who passed away in May of 2015, “Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities” isn't a solemn affair. It's a joyous collection of long forgotten demos, alternate versions and covers. This addition to the Lousy Robot discography (their fourth album and the first since 2011) brings closure to fans of the band. “You give the longest compliments that I've ever heard, but not me I sing and murder my days one at a time”
Chicharra's “Are You” is arguably the best recording by local musicians this year, my favorite for sure. The same can be said about their just released album “Chicharra” a cassette and digital release that delivers a spongy yet muscular beat that slithers in and out of your headphones. A triumvirate of bass players and vocalists (Mauro Woody, Monica Demarco, Marisa Demarco.... John Butler sits behind the drum kit) make Chicharra unlike any other band around these parts (what with the troika of bass guitars and all) You don't see or hear that every day. Two videos accompany “Are You” (one features dancer Reba Heloise doing the Sand Dance on a sand bar, on a below freezing day) Watch them.
Short bursts of sustained anger are the best form of expression.“Who the hell are you to tell me how to feel?” Weedrat is punk rock distilled in its purest form, as potent as Pappy's corn squeezins “Fuck your stupid job and life, Fuck your dog and fuck your wife” is a mantra that we can all live by. You feel me on this.... Weedrat gets in your face in order to deliver a message. We all take a big bite out of the same shit burger.... but we don't have to like it or keep quiet. Given your turn at the podium, grab the opportunity and fuck things up. If it's too loud, you're too old or already dead. “It's just a bad day, it's not unusual, I just need some sleep” They're preaching to the choir, but no sleep till peace.
A Not Quite Perfect Film ~ Lousy Robot
Worry Don't Worry ~ Jen Olive
Pastel Daydream ~ Azula
The Warnings ~ Sad Baby Wolf
Snacktualize it ~ The City is the Tower
Are You ~ Chicharra
Relativity ~ Archabald
Tectonic ~ Starsky
Don't Tell Me ~ Weedrat
The Quiet Few ~ Beard
Tangled Threads ~ Litter Brain
Bad Day ~ Weedrat
Meeting Monsters ~ Kid Dinosaur
Fragile ~ Lousy Robot
Cannibal Heart ~ Archabald
Well...aaa...wumpapum ~ The City is the Tower
Tin Ceiling ~ Starsky